Outlook brighter for the return of NSW live audiences

Image courtesy Australian Festival Association. Photo: David Kan

Image courtesy Australian Festival Association. Photo: David Kan

NSW audiences are re-engaging with Arts and Culture events, according to the latest Audience Outlook Monitor report undertaken by Patternmakers, with Create NSW’s support.

While the return to pre-pandemic attendance figures and expenditure appears some way off, there are optimistic signs for increasing NSW audience attendance. Eight in 10 (79%) had attended an arts and cultural event in the fortnight leading up to the survey, one of the highest rates in the country.

The NSW snapshot reveals the state’s arts and cultural sector has much to be positive about in the coming 12 months.

  • 73% surveyed are ready to attend events (up from 66% in August and 60% in March), with another 26% being more selective and saying they‘ll attend when they’re reasonably confident that the risks of transmission are minimal
  • 55% anticipate their attendance will increase within the next 12 months
  • NSW audiences have an appetite for new (60%), uplifting (73%) and challenging cultural experiences (45%) – so balanced programs are key as audiences re-emerge in the ‘new normal’
  • Online participation still has its place, with 42% of NSW respondents participating in some form of online activity

Meanwhile, pandemic-impacted audience purchasing behaviour is predicted to continue:

  • Last-minute ticket purchases are here to stay, with August 2022 data revealing the majority of NSW audience members book events within the next seven days (27%) and the next 2-3 weeks (46%).
  • Spending hasn’t increased, with 71% spending between $50 or more on cultural activities in the previous fortnight (consistent with August and March)
  • Financial reasons are affecting 38% of NSW audiences (this was 16% in August) – and is now just as much of a barrier to attendance as the risk of the virus (37%)

Read the full report here